Pro Cyclocross Rumors and Rumblings – October 8, 2009
With the cyclocross season fully underway, there’s been a few key story lines that we’ve been following. First up is the issue of heat and feeds in elite cyclocross competitions. Then we’ll catch up with Bart Wellens and his debilitating cytomegalovirus and look forward to the unveiling of Mongolian Cyclocross! Don’t forget to tune in to our Live Coverage of the weekend’s racing at the UCI3 Cyclocross Festival in Cinncinnati, and our Live Chat with Tim Johnson, Jeremy Powers and Jamey Driscoll.
Riders Complain of Heat at Treviso
Neils Albert led the call over the last couple of weeks for the UCI to allow feeds during their races, as air temperatures have soared into the 80′s Fahrenheit over the last two weekends. After last weekend’s race in Eernengem, Albert was critical of officials for not allowing drinks to be handed to riders despite the immense heat. Clearly the heat is a dangerous factor in a sport where drinking and eating are usually not allowed and where the exertion of the riders is abnormally high. The World Cup in Treviso was another race where the heat was a major factor, and while temperatures were not on the same level as those at Eernengem, they were high enough to be uncomfortable for riders. The UCI addressed the issue by saying that bottles were not allowed because they were not discussed in the pre-race meeting. While we don’t expect that temperatures will remain this high for much longer, it’s strange that the UCI would reserve judgement on a very dangerous issue to the day before racing begins.
Bart Wellens Improving
Former World and Belgian Cyclocross Champion Bart Wellens‘ season was cut down to size in recent weeks when he returned from the Doctor’s office with a case of Cytomegalovirus, a debilitating viral infection similar to that of Epstein-Bar and Mononucleosis. Symptoms include extreme fatigue, something that no elite athlete wants. Recovery periods are usually extended and it takes a while for individuals to get back to their top shape, something that could definitely completely derail an elite cyclocross season. Wellens’ last blood tests came back significantly better than his original tests, and it looks like, if he should continue his path of recovery, Wellens should be back on his bike within 10 days! It will only be a short time before Wellens is back to his old self and we wish him well.
In the mean time, Wellens will not be far from cyclocross, as he’s signed up to help bring you coverage from this weekend’s Superprestige stop in Ruddervoorde, in front of the cameras of Belgian TV station VT4. TV coverage is new to Wellens, but he sounds confident. Hopefully, the Superprestige will be kind enough to televise this weekend’s race on their website, and we’ll be able to listen in from the States!
Mongolian Cyclocross to Debut in Neil
Johan Musseuw and his Mongolian National Cyclocross Team, of which he is the driving factor behind, will make their bold introduction at the FIDEA Jaarmarktcross Niel. The team will bring two elite riders – Bolbaatar Bold-Erdene and Ariunbold Naaranbat – and two espoir riders – Naran Khangarid and Baasankhuu Myagmasuren. Their first race will be on November 11th, while they’ll be out previewing the course in Niel the day before. We all look forward to the expansion of Cyclocross to all corners of the globe!
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